Starting Back Up Again...Questions About Using Seachem Stability

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Kaskade10729

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Jun 16, 2013
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After losing our last fantail fancy goldfish, we cleaned out our 60-gallon Marineland Heartland tank and started over recently (the tank had been sitting empty for quite some time), going with a new pirate shipwreck theme, new gravel, new plants, a new Aqueon LED PRO QuietFlow 75 (to replace a QuietFlow 55 that seemed to develop and issue with its clipped-on motor), our original AquaClear 110 and all new filter media for both HOBs. We also got a couple of new bubble bars from Petco, new airline tubing and a new Top Fin air pump.

The tank has been up and running -- with filters -- for a couple of days now, and I have begun the Seachem Stability process (put in the six capfuls the first day, based on our tank size, and now dosing for the next seven days). My plan was to introduce fish once the seven day treatment was complete, but when I reached out to Seachem to ask them about this, I was told that just adding Stability to the tank without any source of ammonia such as fish food or fish and their waste was doing nothing for my cycle; as such, I am considering adding some starter goldies before the seven days are up to kick-start the cycle appropriately (or per Seachem's advice).

Is this correct? Is it okay to introduce some starter fish before the seven days of dosing with Stability? If so, do I just stop after the seventh day and take readings via my API test kit? Also, when do I begin doing water changes after this (I'm gonna use Prime, as always) -- how long do I hold off doing the changes once fish are introduced?
 

Adler

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Jan 15, 2020
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I use Seachem Stability and what I was told, by LFS nonetheless, is the same as you: use Stability as described in the instructions for 7 days and after the 7th day you can add your fish. So I did that.
 
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Kaskade10729

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I use Seachem Stability and what I was told, by LFS nonetheless, is the same as you: use Stability as described in the instructions for 7 days and after the 7th day you can add your fish. So I did that.
Thanks.

Actually, what Seachem told me directly is this:

The bacteria in Stability require a source of ammonia and other nutrients to live so adding it to a brand new tank without those won't really do a whole lot for you. If you want to do a fishless cycle I would recommend starting to add fish food as you would if you were feeding your tank full of goldfish until you've cycled the tank. You're right, adding Stability for a week is what you want to do in order to get the bacterial population established. Once you start adding fish it's a good idea to add Stability again in order to boost the population to levels sufficient to meet the increased nutrient load of your tank since bacteria will only grow enough to consume what nutrients are available at any given time.

As far as water changes, I wouldn't do any until your tank's cycled then do a good gravel vacuum to remove the remaining food before adding fish. Since goldfish are really messy, I'd recommend doing weekly 30% water changes, making sure to clean one of your filters in the water you've removed from the tank each time on a rotating schedule.

If you want to add some starter Goldies for a fish-in cycle you can certainly do that. Keep in mind that "starter"/feeder goldfish are full of disease 99% of the time so I highly, highly, highly recommend avoiding them. In fact, avoid anything that's "feeder". As far as how long it will take your tank to cycle, that's completely dependent on your tank and the nutrient load. Sometimes it can take a couple of weeks, sometimes a month. I'd recommend getting one fish, adding Stability for the first week, then be patient for the tank to fully cycle before adding new fish.


Doing small water changes, no more than 10% weekly, to remove feces and other debris in the substrate will help maintain water quality while cycling. If you start seeing ammonia levels at 0.5 ppm or higher, I would add Prime to detoxify it. It won't remove it from the system, but it will convert it into a form that's not toxic to your fish while still being usable by the filter bacteria.

Keep in mind that you'll need to add more Stability when adding new fish to boost the growth of enough beneficial bacteria to handle the increased nutrient load.

So it seems to me they're saying fish SHOULD be added to the system BEFORE the Stability is even done; I was planning on doing that this weekend...

Also -- the instructions on the bottle say that marine life can be added at ANY time during the seven day period, so long as the treatment is continued for the seven days.

Did you take readings after the seventh day of treatment or did you just add the fish without checking the water?
 
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Please do not waste your money on Stability. The bacteria and Archaea that end up in our tanks handling ammonia do not form spores, they reporduce by division. Stability is a bottle of spores. If you want to know why this is the case, I can explain it in detail

I consider myself to be a somewhat qualified expert on the topic of cycling and have run my own bio-farm for cycling and for keeping filters cycled. I did this to be able to set up tanks instantly cycled for new fish and for when I sold in the vendor area or did room sales at shows. I can tell you two products that will work as long as they have been shipped properly. (Freezing the bacteria or allowing them to get much over 100F for any length of time will kill them.) One is Dr. Tim's One and Only and the other is tetr'as Safe Start. They are essentially the same product and will work. You only need to add them once, but you do need to add ammonia to feed them. You can pretty much have a tank cycled for a full fish load in a week or less. If you can stock more slowly you can add fish as soon as the added 2 ppm of ammonia is gone. You will not see nitrite at all.

I also wrote an article for another site which, when followed to the letter, is a fail-safe method of fishless cycling a tank. If you order the Dr. Tim's, I suggest you also order a bottle of his ammonium chloride which will provide the ammonia needed and is dirt simple to use.

I am happy to you get through your cycle or to link you to my artilce which is on another site similar to this one and where I have not been active since writing all three of their articles for fishless cycling and for rescuing a fish-in cycle gone wild. If you want the link to the article you can end me a site PM and I will respond.
 

Kaskade10729

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Jun 16, 2013
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I appreciate the sentiments, Two Tank, but I have already begun the Stability process and have actually had success with it in the past; I am just having some issues now remembering the best way to go about adding the fish when it's time and such.

At any rate, here are the readings I got using my API test kit last night; perhaps you can look at them and tell me if things are coming along nicely?

On the THIRD DAY of Stability, the readings were:

pH: 7.6
HIGH RANGE pH: Somewhere between 8.0 and 8.2
AMMONIA: 0ppm
NITRITE: 0ppm

NITRATE: Somewhere between 0 and 5.0ppm, but closer to 0

Do these look about right for three days of Stability treatment, and am I on the right track?
 

Adler

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Jan 15, 2020
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So it seems to me they're saying fish SHOULD be added to the system BEFORE the Stability is even done; I was planning on doing that this weekend...

Also -- the instructions on the bottle say that marine life can be added at ANY time during the seven day period, so long as the treatment is continued for the seven days.

Did you take readings after the seventh day of treatment or did you just add the fish without checking the water?
So Stability need a source of ammonia for it to work, I did not know this nor did I add any source of ammonia. The only thing I had when doing the Stability process was a couple of plants (anacharis).

I did not take any readings, there were no available tests back then and sadly the tests (MultiTest™ Nitrite/Nitrate MultiTest™ Ammonia) I got months after seem to be faulty/defective or expired because they give the same reading ALL THE TIME (before and after water change) but somehow their indicator works ¿as intended? the indicator gives the reading it should (a little off but close to what it should).

I am planning on getting API test kit since it much cheaper than Seachem
 

the loach

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Regardless of what kind of product/bacteria you use, you have to test and the results will tell the story whether it is cycled or not.
 
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Kaskade10729

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Regardless of what kind of product/bacteria you use, you have to test and the results will tell the story whether it is cycled or not.
I just shared some numbers we got last night from our API kit; do those look about right for a tank that's been running a little over a week but only three days of Stability treatment?
 

fishorama

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I agree with TwoTankAmin. Dr.Tim's 1 & Only & Tetra Safe Start are the only products with the correct nitrifying bacteria species but I have never used either. Otherwise you're doing a modified fish in cycle. Dr Tim (Horvath?) patented his bacteria & sold it to Tetra with the right to still sell his (or something like that).

With correct dosing of those products the tank is virtually instantly cycled & "tank full" fish can be added right away. Other products don't contain the correct bacteria, but "similar" bacteria.

The only way I cycle tanks these days is either with 2ppm ammonia or, more usually, with filter media & plants from a healthy established tank.

Any way you do it you need to test to be sure! You want 1ppm dose of ammonia to go to 0 in 24 hours with no nitrite. Nitrate is ok, a large water change to get it to 20ppm or less & you're done. But it usually takes much more than a week...with or without fish unless you use the "real bacteria" products.
 

the loach

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"patented" in combination with "correct bacteria" says it all really, a marketing ploy.
I know other brands work as well, like I wrote they either work or they don't, and this can be easily established by testing.
One can't really comment if it is right after 3 days, other than the tests indicate it's not cycled yet. It would be dependent on variables like water parameters, temperature, age of the product and such.

(it's a bad idea to condone and promote patenting of organisms anyway, what's next swordtails?)
 
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